One of Us is Lying

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3.7 (2)
 
5.0 (2)
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One of Us is Lying
Age Range
13+
Release Date
May 30, 2017
ISBN
9780141375632
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One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. Pay close attention and you might solve this. On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

a solid YA mystery
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
WHAT I LOVED:
One of Us Is Lying presents us with a remarkably strong base for the mystery to come: four compelling, unique narrators you won’t mix up easily; a highly unusual death in Simon’s deadly allergic reaction to a peanut oil-laced cup of water; and quick pacing to keep readers in their seats as everything unfolds. Bronwyn, Nate, Addy, and Cooper work well together as a team, going about their own investigations quietly since they’re all still people of interest in Simon’s death. Addy was easily the standout of our dear murder club thanks to her strong character arc and emergence from an emotionally unhealthy relationship.

WHAT LEFT ME WANTING:
That said, One of Us Is Lying commits to using my two least favorite things in fiction: mean girls and using a character’s sexual identity as a twist. Addy’s ex-frenemy-now-just-an-enemy Vanessa handily fills the one-note mean girl role, feeling entirely unnecessary as she “punishes” Addy for daring to cheat on Jake, Addy’s boyfriend and Vanessa’s crush. Gender-based double standards toward cheating are on display as Cooper faces nowhere near the same retribution for cheating on his girlfriend Keely. He gets it worse for being gay than he does for cheating on her.

The reveal that Cooper is gay is used as a twist in an attempt to shock readers, which is something I will never recognize as a twist for any novel. No one’s romantic/sexual orientation is ever a twist, so expect me to “spoil” such things every single time out of respect to other queer readers. Besides, it’s easy to figure out from early on in the novel only for the “secret” is dragged out until its confirmation at the end of the second act. A few other plot twists are similarly easy to see through and other details irk, like the negative portrayal of mental illness and a girl being exoticized because she’s Filipina and Swedish.

FINAL VERDICT:
One of Us Is Lying is a solid YA mystery that will surely lead readers to even stronger entries in the genre, like Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta, Antisocial by Jillian Blake, and pretty much everything Kara Thomas (also known as Kara Taylor) has written so far. With less of the more problematic elements, I’d have an even higher opinion of this book.

Seriously, no more using sexual identity as a shocker. It’s just rude when not talking about yourself and your own identity.
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Thrilling and compelling story
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Pitched as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, this book immediately got into my radar. The Breakfast Club us one of my favorite books, and I've always been curious about PLL although I never really got the chance to watch the series. The book definitely delivered the pitch.

WHAT I LIKED:

As a big fan of mystery/thriller books, I've somehow set my standards and I could say the book met them. The book was told in multiple POVs which presented different voices and perspectives to the story, and the transition flows great as the perspective switches. I also adored the side romances in the book,especially between Brownwyn and Nate, might be a typical smart girl/bad boy romance but I love how it all unfolded. I also love that each character had their own development.

The mystery aspect of the book really kept me on edge and it was such a thrill trying to guess who actually did it, even though I got spoiled while I was still in the early parts of the book. It was still thrilling to see if my deduction was correct, and it was by the way.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

As much as I loved the multiple POVs, I think that for some parts of the book, it got confusing because there weren't distinct voices for each characters so I had to scroll back to the beginning of the chapter to double check which character I was reading from.

I'm not sure what to think of the actual reason and motive about Simon's death, I honestly had mixed feelings about it. I also feel like the epilogue was either unnecessary, or a little weak maybe. I just feel like it could have been a little better if all of the characters were included in the epilogue.

FINAL VERDICT:

Overall, this book was very enjoyable to read. The "whodunnit" part was pretty much fun to figure out and the writing flow was great as well. I definitely recommend this to readers who love mystery/thriller books.
Good Points
multidimensional characters, excellent writing, unpredictable plot, racial and sexual diversity
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (2)
Characters 
 
5.0  (2)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (2)
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One word: INCREDIBLE
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I am still reeling from the perfection that was this book.

One of Us is Lying is a refreshing take on the YA contemporary/mystery, loosely inspired by The Breakfast Club, but with a hint of murder, scandals, and romance. This remarkably well-written novel has fast become one of the best books I have read so far this year.

When starting this novel, I fully expected that there would be a few issues in regards to the perspectives – four POVs is a lot for a short novel, and absurdly difficult to pull off. But McManus did it! And not just adequately, but perfectly. I fell in love with Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper, and the thought that one of them might be lying physically hurt me. I haven’t connected with this many characters at the same time since Six of Crows. All I wanted to do was protect each of them, and every time one of them was questioned by police, I was practically sick to my stomach with worry. (I know I sound like an overbearing parent, but I really felt for them!)

While these characters stem from high school stereotypes (jock, nerd, bad boy, mean girl), the tropes placed on them are wonderfully subverted as each character goes through some intense development. In just 360 pages, McManus delves deep into the lives of four completely different teenagers as they come to terms with a traumatic event, and allows them to learn and change for the better. She does this with all four characters – I know some authors who struggle with intricate character development for just one character! You could even say One of Us is Lying works as a Bildungsroman in a sense, as each character grows exponentially. I believe that almost every reader will be able to emotionally connect with at least one of these characters. I saw parts of myself in each of the four characters and have no doubt others will view themselves in them too.

Bronwyn is the high-achiever; you know that nerd who sits at the front of the classroom, answers every question, and sucks up to the teacher? (i.e. me). While Bronwyn is considered the brains of the little group that forms after the media and classmates turn against the four, she grows as a person and comes to the realisation that her future, while still important, is not worth everything. Due to her sister’s illness and her Latino father’s struggle to become successful, Bronwyn puts a lot of pressure upon herself to be the best and make her parents proud. I really felt for her and admired her strength and intellect.

Nate is the drug dealer and the resident bad boy. His bipolar mother disappeared years ago and his father copes by drinking himself into a stupor, leaving Nate to act like the adult and pay the bills. While Nate begins the novel acting like, well, a criminal, as the story develops, we see another side to Nate: a caring side, a sweet side; he doesn’t have much love in his life, but he craves it more than he wants to admit. Nate also starts a relationship with one of the other characters, and I shipped it from the very moment I sensed the author going in that direction. I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved these two characters together. Y’all know I’m a sucker for a bad boy, so no surprises when I loved him.

I absolutely adored Cooper. The novel’s most popular boy in school and the best player on the baseball team, Cooper should come across as a typical jock, but he is one of two characters who goes through the most compelling character development. The best way to describe him is that he is the epitome of a genuine good guy: he cares for people and he stands by someone when they go through hell. He also harbours a deep secret that tugged on my heart strings. I’m so glad McManus developed his character this way, because this particular issue is still considered very taboo for those in the sport-world. There’s not enough positive representation, and I send a big thank you to McManus for opening this discussion.

If anyone were to ask me why I cried when reading this book, it was because of the new love of my life: Addy. At the beginning of the novel, Addy is this robot of a girlfriend – like the ultimate Stepford Wife. Her boyfriend practically dictates her life, her mother is obsessed with having a man to take care of her and has drummed that into Addy, and she only cares for her looks and her beautiful blonde hair. But that changes after her secret is revealed. Like Cooper, Addy goes through some of the best development I have seen in a long time, and I felt like a proud Mama bear by the end of the novel. Addy is an angel sent from heaven with purple hair. I adore her.

One of Us is Lying has an incredibly fast-paced storyline, rich with intrigue and suspense. I read the novel in one sitting – I even stayed awake till 2 a.m. just to finish it. I used to be a massive Crime fiction aficionado, so I can usually guess the ending of a novel. In fact, I would put my odds at 9/10 times. But in this case, I could not pick out the murderer for the life of me – and when we find out the answer, it will blow you away. I literally took notes as to who I thought the real killer was and what their potential motive could be, and was still completely wrong! This book also talks about many sensitive issues, mainly diversity and mental health, and treats them with respect while also opening up a dialogue for further discourse.

(I also wanted to quickly point out that many people are comparing this book to Pretty Little Liars, and while there are some similarities, the teens in this book are so much smarter than the PLL: for one, they don’t discuss their problems in the middle of a public space; two, they actively try to figure out who the killer is; and three, they take many precautions as opposed to the PLL who literally make the stupidest decisions ever.)

McManus’ writing was top-notch and I still can’t believe this is a debut novel, because it certainly doesn’t read like one. Each character’s voice was individual and in tune with how teenagers think and feel in reality. It’s so easy to get swept up into the story, which is probably why I read the book so quickly. I wish I could go back and savour the novel properly; I’ll just have to settle for a reread instead.

One of Us is Lying is already 2017’s best YA mystery – I’m calling it. It’s true. I cannot find a fault with the novel and I had a genuinely fun, if sometimes frantic, reading experience. I can’t wait for McManus’ next novel – I’ll be keeping a watchful eye out for her from now on.
Good Points
Check out my blog and other reviews here: thebookcorps.wordpress.com
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
A masterful novel of murder, scandal and romance
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I am still reeling from the perfection that was this book.

One of Us is Lying is a refreshing take on the YA contemporary/mystery, loosely inspired by The Breakfast Club, but with a hint of murder, scandals, and romance. This remarkably well-written novel has fast become one of the best books I have read so far this year.

When starting this novel, I fully expected that there would be a few issues in regards to the perspectives – four POVs is a lot for a short novel, and absurdly difficult to pull off. But McManus did it! And not just adequately, but perfectly. I fell in love with Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper, and the thought that one of them might be lying physically hurt me. I haven’t connected with this many characters at the same time since Six of Crows . All I wanted to do was protect each of them, and every time one of them was questioned by police, I was practically sick to my stomach with worry. (I know I sound like an overbearing parent, but I really felt for them!)

While these characters stem from high school stereotypes (jock, nerd, bad boy, mean girl), the tropes placed on them are wonderfully subverted as each character goes through some intense development. In just 360 pages, McManus delves deep into the lives of four completely different teenagers as the come to terms with a traumatic event, and allows them to learn and change for the better. She does this with all four characters – I know some authors who struggle with intricate character development for just one character! You could even say One of Us is Lying works as a Bildungsroman in a sense, as each character grows exponentially. I believe that almost every reader will be able to emotionally connect with at least one of these characters. I saw parts of myself in each of the four characters and have no doubt others will view themselves in them too.

Bronwyn is the high-achiever; you know that nerd who sits at the front of the classroom, answers every question, and sucks up to the teacher? (i.e. me). While Bronwyn is considered the brains of the little group that forms after the media and classmates turn against the four, she grows as a person and comes to the realisation that her future, while still important, is not worth everything. Due to her sister’s illness and her Latino father’s struggle to become successful, Bronwyn puts a lot of pressure upon herself to be the best and make her parents proud. I really felt for her and admired her strength and intellect.

Nate is the drug dealer and the resident bad boy. His bipolar mother disappeared years ago and his father copes by drinking himself into a stupor, leaving Nate to act like the adult and pay the bills. While Nate begins the novel acting like, well, a criminal, as the story develops, we see another side to Nate: a caring side, a sweet side; he doesn’t have much love in his life, but he craves it more than he wants to admit. Nate also starts a relationship with one of the other characters, and I shipped it from the very moment I sensed the author going in that direction. I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved these two characters together. Y'all know I'm a sucker for a bad boy, so no surprises when I loved him.

I absolutely adored Cooper. The novel’s most popular boy in school and the best player on the baseball team, Cooper should come across as a typical jock, but he is one of two characters who goes through the most compelling character development. The best way to describe him is that he is the epitome of a genuine good guy: he cares for people and he stands by someone when they go through hell. He also harbours a deep secret that tugged on my heart strings. I’m so glad McManus developed his character this way, because this particular issue is still considered very taboo for those in the sport-world. There’s not enough positive representation, and I send a big thank you to McManus for opening this discussion.

If anyone were to ask me why I cried when reading this book, it was because of the new love of my life: Addy. At the beginning of the novel, Addy is this robot of a girlfriend – like the ultimate Stepford Wife. Her boyfriend practically dictates her life, her mother is obsessed with having a man to take care of her and has drummed that into Addy, and she only cares for her looks and her beautiful blonde hair. But that changes after her secret is revealed. Like Cooper, Addy goes through some of the best development I have seen in a long time, and I felt like a proud Mama bear by the end of the novel. Addy is an angel sent from heaven with purple hair. I adore her.

One of Us is Lying has an incredibly fast-paced storyline, rich with intrigue and suspense. I read the novel in one sitting – I even stayed awake till 2 a.m. just to finish it. I used to be a massive Crime fiction aficionado, so I can usually guess the ending of a novel. In fact, I would put my odds at 9/10 times. But in this case, I could not pick out the murderer for the life of me – and when we find out the answer, it will blow you away. I literally took notes as to who I thought the real killer was and what their potential motive could be, and was still completely wrong! This book also talks about many sensitive issues, mainly diversity and mental health, and treats them with respect while also opening up a dialogue for further discourse.

(I also wanted to quickly point out that many people are comparing this book to Pretty Little Liars , and while there are some similarities, the teens in this book are so much smart than PLL : for one, they don’t discuss their problems in the middle of a public space; two, they actively try to figure out who the killer is; and three, they take many precautions as opposed to the PLL who literally make the stupidest decisions ever.)

McManus’ writing was top-notch and I still can’t believe this is a debut novel, because it certainly doesn’t read like one. Each character’s voice was individual and in tune with how teenagers think and feel in reality. It’s so easy to get swept up into the story, which is probably why I read the book so quickly. I wish I could go back and savour the novel properly; I’ll just have to settle for a reread instead.

One of Us is Lying is already 2017’s best YA mystery – I’m calling it. It’s true. I cannot find a fault with the novel and I had a genuinely fun, if sometimes frantic, reading experience. I can’t wait for McManus’ next novel – I’ll be keeping a watchful eye out for her from now on
Good Points
Check out my blog and other reviews: www.thebookcorps.wordpress.com
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